Posted by Helen Childs, Partner
£131,000 mesothelioma claim for brothers who lived together
Reg and Billy W had shared a house for many years, living also with their aged father who died in 2016. In the summer of 2017 Billy became unwell. He was too frail for a biopsy, but the hospital thought that he had mesothelioma, which is an aggressive asbestos related cancer. Billy’s brother Reg contacted Helen Childs of Royds Withy King who was able to visit Billy within days. Unfortunately his condition was deteriorating so fast that Billy was unable to give details of his exposure to asbestos by then. He died the very next day, aged just 68.
He had, however, worked alongside Dennis – who now lived in Ireland and he was able to give a very full statement detailing how Billy had come into contact with asbestos on numerous previous occasions during the course of his employment as a pipe fitter/welder. Billy had worked for Mepels for many years as a fitter before going on to work for the Electricity Board.
The Fatal Accidents Act confirms that siblings can pursue a claim for compensation for the loss of their financial and practical dependency on their each other. Realistically this is often only capable of being pursued where the relatives live in the same property as Reg and Billy did.
Court proceedings were commenced, and judgement was entered. The claim was listed for an assessment of damages hearing in November of 2018.
No offers were received from the defendants until just a week before the assessment of damages hearing and this offer was less than £100,000. Given that Reg was dependent on Billy both financially and practically, we and our Barrister felt the offer was insufficient and the claim went to an assessment of damages hearing on the 1 November. We instructed Aliyah Akram of 12 KBW to represent Reg at court. At the assessment of damages hearing the sum of £70,000 was awarded for Billy’s pain suffering and loss of amenity even though he had only been unwell for less than four months before his death. Funeral expenses of £13,140 were also recovered. In addition the Court decided that Reg was dependent on Billy and awarded compensation in this regard. The total compensation awarded was £131,000.
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